Hall of Fame voter Mark Zuckerman on the 2014 class
On Dec. 2, the Orioles traded Jim Johnson to Oakland. In return they received Jemile Weeks. Later on, they also got minor league catcher David Freitas.
Because he was traded for Johnson, Weeks will receive lots of attention during spring training. It’s generally assumed that Ryan Flaherty will be the starting second baseman this season, and that he’ll be backed up by Alexi Casilla.
Both Flaherty and Casilla have an advantage. They play multiple positions.
Weeks is a second baseman. He did make two cameo appearances in center field last year for Oakland. In the minor leagues, Weeks played some shortstop last year as well as center field. He made five errors in 23 games at short for Triple-A Sacramento.
Shortstop and center field are not positions of need for the Orioles. Second base is, and that’s where Weeks will be tested.
Weeks has made 24 errors in 213 games at second, but played better there in 2012, his second year than his first.
As for his hitting, Weeks hit .303 in 97 games in 2011. He stole 22 bases, but was thrown out 11 times. In 2012, Weeks batted .221. His basestealing improved. He swiped 16 bases in 21 attempts.
He has 41 doubles in 223 games, but just four home runs. His on-base percentage improved from 2011 to 2012, but last year, Weeks played in just eight games.
Weeks will have to clearly outplay Flaherty and Casilla, two players manager Buck Showalter likes, to make the club.
The odds are that Weeks will start the season at Norfolk and make some appearances in Baltimore during the year.